Like many others, Orange is the New Black star Selenis Leyva was emotionally touched by Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair reveal on Monday morning (June 1). But as the magnitude of the momentous occasion set in, her personal connection to the LGBT community sparked a grave reality.
“I hope we don’t lose sight that this is not the norm for your average transgender person,” Leyva, an LGBT rights advocate, wrote in her column below about being sisters with a transgender woman.
“My initial feelings and thoughts about Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer and the Vanity Fair cover were pure joy, excitement, progress, possibility and change. Like many, I cried thinking of all the years she was unable to live her real life. I celebrate her courage and yes, I marvel over her beauty.
Today, however, I woke up with sadness. I questioned this. After all, I was on such an emotional high the night before. You see, I am not only a supporter of the LGBT community, I am a sister to a beautiful and kind young transgender woman. Suddenly, it became clear to me where my sadness was coming from. The reality is that most transgender people continue to struggle with acceptance. Most will not be celebrated and put on magazine covers. I am NOT by any means taking away from the importance and impact of what is happening in the transgender movement
with the courageous stories being shared by Caitlyn and my smart, talented and yes, beautiful costar, Laverne Cox. I am simply sharing my story based on my life with a Latina transgender sister, my family and our continued struggles. My sister is not famous, in fact she is having a hard time finding employment to this date. She is still struggling to be accepted, and she is still in danger every time she leaves her home.
I feel sadness today because the majority of the trans community struggle to simply get decent health care, never mind public acceptance. So yes, yesterday I, like millions, celebrated the Vanity Fair cover. Today, I hope we don’t lose sight that this is not the norm for your average transgender person.
Let’s continue to move forward.
Let’s continue to educate.
Let’s continue to have conversations.
Let’s not forget how the majority live.
Thank you to all who support the LGBT community.
Keeping it real and keeping it moving!
With Love and Respect,
Photo Credit: Getty Images